To succeed, we must stop whingeing and start adapting

With all the furore surrounding chancellor Alistair Darling\'s Budget, I\'ve encountered many in the industry who are losing sight of best practice and how our business works.

Yes, it’s true there are fewer mortgage products to choose from and yes, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to source mortgages for certain types of borrower, including first-time buyers and clients requiring high LTV deals.

Times are tough but to maintain business levels in the prevailing market conditions, brokers need to do more with their time than complain about the situation.

They must be proactive and make changes to the way they source, provide for and maintain their client base.

For example, do they purchase internet leads? If so, do they only source them from their local area or do they look nationwide in search of business?

Searching the whole of the UK means that brokers don’t need to win the bid race to source leads as they have a much larger pool of potential customers to choose from.

How do brokers service their customers? Do they ring them a couple of times a year to check that all is well and ensure that their names are the first to mind when customers recommend brokers to friends and family?

Do brokers offer clients incentives to recommend their services to others? The business is out there, it just needs to be exploited.

Brokers who flourish in the current environment will adapt the way they work, offering additional services to set themselves apart from the crowd. Exceptional service for a competitive price will separate the wheat from the chaff.

There is also a great deal of discussion about how the base rate will change this year.

The consensus is that the Bank of England will cut rates a couple of times to leave it around the 4.75% mark by the end of 2008.

As a result, many brokers are leaning towards variable rate deals as our lending colleagues aren’t dropping their fixed rate offerings in line with reductions to the base rate and swaps.

Brokers who will succeed in these uncertain times won’t be order takers or trained monkeys.

Anyone can service a client who says ‘I want a fixed rate’ because it suited their friend for the past two years.

Clients will welcome brokers’ advice and be more inclined to recommend their services if they feel they have been told about the available options and been given the chance to make their own decisions while in possession of the facts.

There are many variables that go together to create brokers who can succeed in the current marketplace.

Brokers who complain about how tough things are and how everything is stacked against them need to realise there are things they can do to counter those effects. Don’t complain, adapt.

Rob Roberts,/b>
Senior adviser
Chesterton Grant Mortgages
By email